I wanted to share some of what I think will be the highlights of ALA Annual Conference 2012 for me and why they’re going to be so great (Disclaimer: I may be slightly biased about some of these!)

Association Options Fair

I’ve been working with the task force (as part of my Emerging Leaders project) to help organise this session to introduce people to how they can get involved in ALA. It’s part of ALA President Molly Raphael’s “Empowering Diverse Voices” diversity leadership initiative. There’s a full press release available online, but to give a brief overview:

The Association Options Fair was developed to address one of the most essential steps towards leadership development — exposure to the leadership and involvement opportunities that are available to you.  Attendees will have an opportunity to network with Association, Division, Round Table and Affiliate representatives to discuss volunteer and leadership engagement opportunities.  By shedding light on the many volunteer opportunities available throughout the Association, it is hoped that more members can become engaged and benefit from the experiences available through involvement in the association.

It’s on Sunday at 1.30-3.30pm at Anaheim Marriott (Grand Salon E & F) and you can add it to your schedule.

CraftCon

Continuing what we started at ALA Midwinter, Kate Kosturski and myself (along with Tina Coleman and Jenny Levine who have helped make it happen), will be hosting a CraftCon in the Networking Uncommons area. The conference can be so exhausting that it’s good to take some downtime and what better way than to do some crafty activities. We’ll be there with cross stitch and knitting supplies (and you are very welcome to bring along your own projects to work on). It’s on Saturday and Sunday 12-1.30pm in the Networking Uncommons.

There’s also been some interest in visiting a local yarn store on the Monday afternoon (which I would love to do!) so please let me know if you’re interested in that – there’s a discussion in the Fiberbrarians group in Ravelry.

Emerging Leaders Day

I loved the Emerging Leaders Day at ALA Midwinter and I’m sure Annual’s will be excellent too. I’m really looking forward to seeing my project team members again and presenting our poster – you can come visit our posters at the Convention Center on Friday 3-4pm – add to your schedule. My team will also be giving an update at the NMRT Executive Board meeting which will be an opportunity to start people thinking about potential ways forward for a Professional Options Fair/Association Options Fair (if it’s decided to be a useful thing).

Jodi Picoult

I’ve been a fan of Jodi’s writing for a long time and am really hoping I get chance to go along to see her speak (with her daughter Samantha Van Leer who I believe she collaborated with for her latest book). At Midwinter I went to Susan Cain’s session and queued up to get a signed book and it was one of the highlights of the conference. I’m not sure if Jodi will have books to sign but I’d love to hear her speak so fingers crossed I can make it (it’s straight after another commitment so might involve some running!). It’s in the Convention Center on Sunday 3.30pm-5.30pm – add to your schedule.

Battledecks

I was fortunate enough to be able to be a judge at Battledecks last ALA Annual Conference and I’m really looking forward to going along as an audience member this time. It was a whole lot of fun last time and I’m sure this year’s will be too. It’s on Monday evening 5.30-7pm at the Convention Centre – view it in the scheduler.

The venue

Although it’s been great to visit New Orleans and Dallas, this is the one I’m most looking forward to in terms of venue. California is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit and I absolutely love anything Disney. It should be easier for me to find places to eat this time round (from my initial investigations anyway – if you have dietary requirements check out this Google Doc and Google map of alternative dining options). After hotel problems at both previous ALA conferences, I’m particularly looking forward to Disney’s customer service – if it’s anywhere near as good as it was in Florida I’m going to be very happy (fingers crossed!). I’m even able to have gluten free Mickey Mouse waffles and gluten free pancakes! I really wish I could go to the LearnRT pre-conference on Disney’s customer service to learn more about the way they implement it but unfortunately it clashes with Emerging Leaders Day.

The people

I’ve saved the best till last. In addition to yet more fangirl moments (so many role models to meet!), I’m excited about meeting up with some of the great friends I’ve made from previous conferences. Many of the people I met at Annual last year weren’t at Midwinter so it will be great to see them again. Lots of dinners and drinks to add to my schedule – I’ll be exhausted but it will be so worth it!

If you’re going to ALA Annual Conference, I hope I get chance to see you – you can view my schedule at http://ala12.scheduler.ala.org/user/95508/